One would think the origins of a werewolf would be more biblically epic than just a feral kid being brought up by stink wolves. (So did they make him go to his den after back barking?) But that’s the base premise of Legend of the Werewolf (1975), a well-intentioned although semi-meaninful pile of wet fur of a horror movie.
A traveling circus circa 19th Century happens across the ankle/throat biter on the side of the road and decides to make him their featured attraction as the “Wolf Boy.” And since he’s under age, they don’t have to pay him. But they do have to give him a name: Etoile. I don’t know how to pronounce that. Regardless, it translates as “Star.” I like Etoile better.
As Ety grows up, he kills circus employees when the moon is full. This expectedly gets him fired. Amazingly/ironically, the young man finds a job as a zoo keeper in Paris. And you know what’s next to the zoo? A brothel! Monkeys and hookers – Etoile just hit the jackpot.
Though he’s only known the life of showbiz, Etoile is naive in the ways of the world, and falls in love with Christine, one of the prostitutes, or “talonneurs.” Good thing: Etoile doesn’t know what Christine does for a living. Bad thing: Etoile finds out what Christine does for a living.
After witnessing Christine working the night shift, Etoile goes crazy jealous mad under the full moon and rips her client to dead shreds. This is not a good business model for Christine’s public service job, who also rebuffs his marriage proposal.
Meanwhile, a forensic surgeon examining Etoile’s road kill, puts together enough clues to land the tantrum prone wolf man in the dog house with the law.
Eventually cornered towards the end of one hour and twenty-six minutes, Etoile gets his bestiality on and turns into a white werewolf instead of the preferred dark brown or black variety. It’s here Etoile is shot right in the underground sewer by police officers with prominent facial hair. I find that to be tragically ironic.
It should be noted that Etoile can speak human while in wolf form, and seems repentant for his hairy behavior. A bullet to the back is his accepted apology. Only thing left Christine to do is clock in, change into her work clothes and get back to laying down on the job.